When Trayvon Reed heard the number, he was sold on Maryland. Two-hundred and nineteen. That’s what Alex Len weighed when he first arrived on campus, before he blossomed into the No. 5 overall pick in June’s NBA draft. Fancy that, Reed thought to himself. His weight also hovered around 219.
“It really just gave me the relief that I could do this,” Reed said via telephone on Thursday while riding to the airport after offering his oral commitment to the Maryland men’s basketball team. Hearing about Len’s development piqued Reed’s initial interest, which never wavered throughout the recruitment process. Even a “miscommunication” with reporters Friday night, that Reed said led to several outlets reporting that he had pledged, couldn’t keep Reed from visiting College Park knowing one simple truth: He would commit on the visit.
“I came here knowing that I was,” Reed said. “I’m just ready to do my part. Hopefully I can do what the other big kid did, and possibly even more.”
That other big kid is Len, a similarly raw shot-blocker when he immigrated from his native Ukraine. Reed doesn’t have the language barrier to deal with and has scouts raving about his long-term potential. He ranks among the country’s top 75 high school seniors according to Rivals and is a four-star recruit per several ranking services. Reed, a 7-foot-1 center who held offers from most top SEC programs, said he chose Maryland over Florida.
Accompanied by stepfather Daniel Moore on the visit, Reed toured Maryland’s campus, visited with the program’s academic resource team and attended football practice. He committed late Thursday morning.
“Ah man, it was just exciting,” Moore said. “Once again, it’s about the support system. It’s all about Trayvon, seeing the things he wants to do. It was just exciting, seeing how determined they are about succeeding academically, and that was a strong point about the whole thing. I really feel comfortable that Trayvon has an opportunity to work hard in school academically. Whatever he wants to do with basketball, that’s up to him. Me personally, I want to see him get a strong education.
“This thing was in his heart for a long time. It’s not about today. He’s been liking this school for a while. I think when he came up here, just to experience the school, it solidified what he wanted to do. He went on and made a decision.”
Reed’s mother, a registered nurse who also attends classes to get her bachelor’s degree, was unable to make the trip.
“She’s always working,” Reed said. “Working hard. She’s always working and at school. Never had time. That motivates me. I just let her know, you’re the reason why I’m doing this. She’s been working hard since I’ve been a kid. I just tell her, one day, you won’t have to work.”
Reed’s commitment gives Maryland its necessary big man for the class of 2014, one that already contains three bona fide shooters that have the group ranked third nationally by ESPN.com. All four commitments are top 100 players, per Rivals.
Reed stressed the importance of adding weight entering his senior season back home in Georgia, so he arrives at Maryland further ahead than Len did. Scouts have said his offensive game — dunks excluded — needs work, so rather than celebrate, Reed had something else in mind once his place touches down.
“I don’t know, maybe I’ll go to the gym,” he said. “That’s what I usually do.”